Back to Byrdcliffe

After a bit of remedial mortising I’m back working on my Byrdcliffe-inspired cabinet.

First off, I picked up the materials for finishing, but I’m not sure on the exact approach I’m going to use – so I’m making up some finish samples.  I found this article online that has some some different mission-style finish formulas using a combination of aniline dye and gel stain.  I’m making up samples of the #4 and #5 examples.

Brown Mahogany (left) and Medium Brown (right) dye applied

Brown Mahogany (left) and Medium Brown (right) dye applied

I want the quarter-sawn figure to really “pop”.  So far it’s not.  The dye seems to color the oak pretty evenly.  After this drys I’ll put a coat of gel stain on each and see what it looks like.  Plan B is to fume it, oil it, topcoat with amber shellac and then brown wax.  I’ll need to pick up some ammonia and start a piece fuming so I can compare it.

While I’m waiting for my samples to dry I’m working on the door for the cabinet.  I milled up new stiles to replace the ones I screwed up before.  And yes, I left them long to prevent blowing out the ends when I mortise and assemble the door frame.

I also made a small fixture to help keep my mortise plumb.

Mortising Fixture

Mortising Fixture

I did one more practice mortise to “warm up” and make sure the fixture would work as I expected.  It did.

Practice mortise with the new fixture

Practice mortise with the new fixture (the sloppy, open mortise was done with a drill, the one with the test tenon was done with the fixture)

So I knifed in the final length on the stiles, laid out the mortise locations and started chopping the real mortises.  I have one stile done, and I’m just taking a quick lunch break before attacking the second stile.  Fingers crossed…


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4 thoughts on “Back to Byrdcliffe

  1. Have you considered ammonia fuming? I think any dye/stain is going to kill your “popping”. With fuming, it’ll pop naturally.
    I fumed a clock – $27 for the ammonia and $25 for a respirator rated for ammonia. I bought a huge plastic tub and lid for $5 at Wally world. No stain can match what the ammonia did.

  2. I’m going to do a sample with Ammonia next. The combination of dye and stain looks nice (I don’t have any topcoats on it yet, so we’ll see), but the ray fleck figure is too subtle for my tastes.

  3. I’m assuming you made the mortise jig based on Paul Seller’s simple jigs he has his students use in their classes with him. You might want to mention where you got the idea if you did, in fact, borrow from his design.

  4. Yes, this is the same as the jig that Paul has demonstrated. I saw in most recently in his “coffee table” series of videos on I’m sure I’ve seen it before in other places, it’s similar to Jeff Miller’s Mortise Paring Jig: In fact, in that video (where he demonstrates the paring jig) he shows an interesting trick to get the mortise started to when he starts chopping it he can stay on track a little easier.

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